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Governors’ Guide to Modernizing the Electric Power Grid

May 16, 2014 Comments off

Governors’ Guide to Modernizing the Electric Power Grid (PDF)
Source: National Governors Association

Governors have a strong interest in ensuring that the electric power grid functions safely, reliably, and efficiently. Although it functions well overall and utilities have made many upgrades, the grid needs modern technologies and new infrastructure to meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century, including mitigating increased storm- and cyber-related threats, integrating the use of more renewable energy resources, and capitalizing on the greater availability of data on grid performance and electricity usage. Most recently, an attack by gunmen on a utility substation in California that caused damage but did not result in a power outage has drawn attention to another vulnerability of electricity infrastructure. By modernizing the grid, states and utilities have an opportunity to address those challenges, improve the operation and efficiency of the electric power system, and drive economic opportunities. Governors can help regulators, utilities, and customers better understand the benefits of grid modernization in terms of increased reliability, resiliency, and energy efficiency and how those benefits compare to the costs. Governors also can promote greater coordination among state, federal, and private partners—on transmission development, cybersecurity threats, and renewable integration—which can help modernization efforts occur more quickly and cost-effectively.

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An Energy Efficiency Primer for Governors

November 12, 2013 Comments off

An Energy Efficiency Primer for Governors
Source: National Governors Association

States have been essential to the progress the United States has made in using energy more efficiently, according to a new paper released by the National Governors Association (NGA).

Governors play a critical role in advancing energy efficiency and are supporting efforts to help consumers lower their energy costs, reduce state energy expenditures, defer the need for new power plant investments, strengthen system reliability and reduce environmental impacts.

An Energy Efficiency Primer for Governors describes successful actions governors have taken to further cost-effective energy efficiency. Governors have worked with legislators, regulators and others to advance energy efficiency in a variety of ways. Examples of recent state actions include:

  • Conducting energy planning to analyze potential energy savings and explore best practices;
  • Improving energy efficiency rules and standards for buildings and appliances;
  • Incentivizing spending by utilities to provide increased energy efficiency to homes, businesses and industries;
  • Supporting innovative financing and repayment mechanisms to encourage private sector investment;
  • Creating new efforts that use information technology to spur enhanced energy savings by consumers and businesses; and
  • Supporting research and development through partnerships with universities and the private sector to encourage the next generation of energy efficiency initiatives.

A Governor’s Guide to Early Literacy: Getting all Students Reading by Third Grade

November 10, 2013 Comments off

A Governor’s Guide to Early Literacy: Getting all Students Reading by Third Grade
Source: National Governors Association

Improving early literacy is essential to increasing high school graduation rates allowing students to be successful in postsecondary education and ensuring the prosperity of all Americans, according to a report released by the National Governors Association (NGA).

A Governor’s Guide to Early Literacy: Getting all Students Reading by Third Grade examines the gap between research and policy and describes the five policy actions that governors can take to ensure all children read at grade level by the end of third grade.

States can increase the number of children who are proficient in reading by third grade by including three major and widely embraced results of educational research in their efforts:

  • Differences in literacy and language development in early childhood can lead to achievement gaps as early as kindergarten;
  • Reading proficiency requires a focus on interrelated skills and knowledge taught over time; and
  • Parents, primary caregivers and teachers have the most influence on children’s language and literacy development.

State Clean Energy Actions: November 2012–June 2013 Update

October 29, 2013 Comments off

State Clean Energy Actions: November 2012–June 2013 Update
Source: National Governors Association

Governors continued to advance renewable energy, energy efficiency and other forms of clean energy during their 2013 state legislative sessions, according to a report released by the National Governors Association (NGA).

State Clean Energy Actions: November 2012–June 2013 Update covers the 55 states, commonwealths and territories and highlights nearly 350 actions governors took to support greater use of clean energy, often with the goal of spurring economic development, reducing energy costs to consumers or minimizing environmental impacts. Areas with the most activity included renewable portfolio standards, shale gas development, financial incentives, building codes and state building efficiency efforts.

The paper provides summary data and highlights recent state-level activity and cumulative data from 2008-2013 across seven categories:

  • clean electricity;
  • energy efficiency;
  • alternative fuels and vehicles;
  • lead-by-example initiatives;
  • clean energy economic development;
  • clean energy research, development and demonstration; and
  • greenhouse gas emissions.

NGA, NASBO Say Slow Economic Recovery Hinders States’ Fiscal Well-Being

June 14, 2013 Comments off

NGA, NASBO Say Slow Economic Recovery Hinders States’ Fiscal Well-Being
Source: National Governors Association/National Association of State Budget Officers

After several years of slow recovery, states are beginning to see some fiscal relief. However, the unemployment rate is still high and the economic recovery is weak compared to other post-recession recoveries, according to the The Fiscal Survey of States, released today by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO).

Additionally, states are challenged with providing resources in critical areas that were cut during the recession, declining federal funds for state programs subject to sequestration and continued spending demands in areas directly affected by the sluggish economy such as Medicaid, higher education and corrections. Because of these challenges and other factors, most states plan to moderately increase spending in fiscal 2014.

Redesigning State Economic Development Agencies

October 30, 2012 Comments off

Redesigning State Economic Development Agencies (PDF)

Source: National Governors Association

Policies to boost innovation, competitiveness and job creation are top priorities for the nation’s governors. State economic development agencies play a large role in making and implementing those policies and, accordingly, how states will rebound from the recession that ended in 2009. State leaders seeking to lay the foundation for renewed economic prosperity should try to ensure that such agencies function as effectively and efficiently as possible, so that the economic recovery brings with it strong growth and high-paying jobs.

The fact that states are now facing daunting economic challenges makes it easier to muster broad support for transforming their economic development agencies. Governors have a unique opportunity to review the economic landscape and to propose critical changes that would not have been feasible in the past. Within the past two years, at least 12 states have created new entities focused on economic development or have consolidated existing agencies to streamline their approach to economic development.

NGA, NASBO Say States Facing ‘Big Squeeze’ According to Latest Fiscal Survey

November 30, 2011 Comments off

NGA, NASBO Say States Facing ‘Big Squeeze’ According to Latest Fiscal Survey

Source: National Governors Association

While the overall fiscal condition of states has improved from the depths of the recession, the Fall 2011 Fiscal Survey of States, released today by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), shows that states are facing a ‘big squeeze’ from both local and federal governments. The combination of the effects of the economic downturn, tepid economic growth and the expiration of Recovery Act and other federal funds has severely impeded the growth of state resources. Additionally, spending on Medicaid is expected to consume an increasing share of state budgets and grow much more rapidly than state revenue growth, resulting in slow or no growth in education, transportation or public safety.

Overall, state 2012 enacted budgets include nearly $667 billion in general fund expenditures, a 2.9 percent increase compared to $648 billion in general fund spending in 2011. Despite the second year with an increase, total enacted general fund spending in 2012 is still $21 billion less than the pre-recession high of $687 billion in 2008.

At the same time, local government revenues have been severely impacted by the decline in housing values. Many local governments, including school districts, rely heavily on property taxes to support their activities. These jurisdictions have been pressing states for more local assistance.

+ Full Report (PDF)

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